DEVIN McKINNEY • Polythene Eugene Cho gets half-credit and a $1 gift certificate at the Keychain Connection for figuring out most of the first installment of our Never-Ending Beatles Trivia Quiz Challenge. For the benighted and clueless, though, let’s start at the fat bottom and work upwards, pyramid-style, to blue sky and pointy revelation…
The question, you’ll recall, was: What one factor connects the Beatles to three major American filmmakers of the 1970s—Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, and Alan J. Pakula?
The hint, you’ll equally recall, was: What you talkin’ ’bout, Lightfoot?
Anyone who grew up watching TV in the ’70s remembers Gary Coleman as Arnold on Diff’rent Strokes, whose catch-phrase, delivered to his brother, was “What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” So the first piece of the puzzle falls into place… “Lightfoot”—what does that make you think of? “Gordon,” of course. Combine the two names and you have “Willis Gordon”! Which means nothing. Reverse the names, though—ah! See how this works? No? Not important—and you have “Gordon Willis.”
Anyone familiar with ’70s movies will know that name. As cinematographer on such innovative classics as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and Manhattan, and Alan J. Pakula’s “paranoia trilogy” of Klute, The Parallax View, and All the President’s Men, Willis qualifies as arguably the most important lensman in the American cinema of the 1970s.
And Gordon Willis—we’re almost there—was, if you’ll look closely, one soldier in the small army of assistant and auxiliary cameramen who worked on The Beatles at Shea Stadium.
Now, wasn’t that worth the wait?